The Success Story
*Let’s all applaud the fact that my latest blog post comes only 14 months after the last one… my sporadic virtual spewing skills of my 20’s are improving! *
Age bring many things, once of which is the confidence to finally talk much more truthfully on the internet about the internal workings of my brain, so today, to your delight or despair, i’m going to type away all about success.
Almost every day, i think about the fact that i’m not successful enough. Pause –
I’m adding that pause in for you to say, very well meaningly of you, either in your head or out loud that of course I am. “Just look at X,Y,Z, they show success to me!” I get ya, I really do, but that does nothing to stop the must try harder demon that intently watches the moves I make with a cursing eye roll.
Another great thing about age really is wisdom. What I know now, if I couldn’t somehow tell even at 20, is that I’m old soul and a deep thinker. An ENFP, an empath, the over sensitive type; I feel everything deeply. The wonderful highs, and the crashing lows. It’s in my personality, it’s a part of my nature, and it means that i’ve learnt to live with the burden or joy, depending on how you look at it, that I carry a lot of things more heavily on my shoulders than those around me do – a part of which is my daily battle with my lack of success.
I felt successful enough in school. I was on the whole a B grade girl without much trying, or much desire to excel. I never felt that I could compete with my clever best friend who was queen of the A’s and A*’s, so I didn’t, and it suited me fine. (Now though, I could kick myself for not realising my own potential and the fact that although academic intelligence more came naturally to her, she also worked bloody hard to achieve what she did, and with more belief in myself, I probably could have to)
In life, some would say I am successful. I’ve done a lot of what society has asked of me, expected of me, and at a young age too (*Bonus points!*). I’ve ticked off the essential way for a woman to survive, in finding a man and marrying him. And guess what, I bought a house before I blew out 24 candles on a cake. Look at me, winning at life. I’ve travelled, to europe loads, america 3 times, I own designer bags, earn more money than lots of my friends with degrees even after leaving a crappy uni degree after 3 months and carving myself out a career, well, aren’t I just marvellous. Just need to pop out a baby now to satisfy everyone else’s expectations and tick off another “life milestone.”
See the problem with the paragraph above, is that I honestly could not give a shit about these milestones. I never have or will, compare myself to the societal imposed markers of success – while i’m made up they happened, I never set out to achieve any of them. I got married young yes, but it wasn’t to tick the invisible box in the plan for your life volume 3, or for religious, or family or any other kind of reason you can think of. I got married because I accidentally (and it was accidental, because my life plan at 16 was a man free zone where I lived in a penthouse apartment in London being the editor in chief of ELLE) fell in love with a wonderful human who I have an absolute ball pissing about with every single day of life, and who is the person I want to do all the hard and horrible and disgusting moments of life with too. There is literally no one else i’d rather do the food shop or go to funeral with, and you know when you know, so coincidentally there is a ring on my finger.
And yes, I bought a house. Not because I, like a lot of society am obsessed with homeownership but instead because I had savings, and had previously been flushing my hard earned cash down the loo renting for three years. I could not be dealing with anymore carpets in bathrooms (yes, really) and bland butter magnolia walls, so for my own benefit, and no one elses, I invested in my own piece of L25.
And all the other stuff? Well yeah looks good on instagram doesn’t it, but hand on heart, i’m just as happy with a day trip to the lakes in me F&F jumper.
So anyway, why am I telling you all this back story? Well, it again goes back to the age thing and the fact that lately, and thanks to a long conversation over a lovely meal and a few glasses of wine I realised that so far I’ve been walking this whole path of success wrong. You see, every time I grapple with the notion of the fact I am not successful enough, I am faced with a brick wall, because I actually have no idea of what I perceive success to be. I’m constantly internally striving for what is next in a professional sense – Promotion or better sounding title? Bigger pay check? More responsibility? But I know from every occasion previously in which these situations have happened, it has not made me feel any more successful. Maybe for 5 minutes, but by the time I’ve told a friend and made a coffee, the feeling has vanished as quickly as it appeared and I’m left once again, searching for the secret of how to finally be successful.
Thankfully, especially because it genuinely keeps me up at night, I’ve finally realised what it looks like for me. For me, is not found in money, or property or in finding a partner (and if these are the things that make you feel the successful then 100% i’m cheering you on and wishing you all the luck towards reaching your goals!!) but instead in fulfilling a purpose.
Finally knowing this, really takes the pressure off and shuts my internal monologue off for a little bit. While I have no idea right now what my purpose is, I do know that i’ll only feel and be truly successful when i’m fulfilling it.
I do find glimpses of it in moments, mainly in conversations about topics that are close to my heart, and I can feel the passion and energy fizzing out of me, literally like you’ve just opened a can of coke after it’s rolled around the bus for hours, but then there never quite seems the time to pursue it wholeheartedly and turn it from anything more than just words and good intentions.
So, 2020, I can feel you approaching and finally, I am ready. To a fresh blank notebook page, will I ink myself a new chapter. 25 is approaching and maybe for the first time in my adult life, I will truly feel successful.
An early new years eve message, as we all know you won’t get another post till 2021, but I hope that next year you give yourself what you deserve in order to be successful in your own terms, so let’s raise a toast to clarity, to confidence and the privilege and joy of getting older.
Over and out… X